The digital age, also known as the information age, has revolutionized the way we experience most aspects of our lives. Modern technology puts all of the information the world has to offer at our fingertips (and in our pockets).

Today, there are nearly 4.4 billion active internet users globally, a number that will only grow. That means more than half the world’s population is online and, in turn, is interacting with businesses every day.

The ways brands handle customer service has changed substantially since we’ve entered the digital age. According to Forrester Research, customer relationships have effectively become each company’s primary competitive differentiator. This means a company’s customer service strategy is crucial to its success.

Below, we’ll explore some of the most important factors for adapting to customer service in the digital age.

1. Keep customers “in the know”

The age of information requires just that — information. Customers want to know everything at all times. That means a company needs to anticipate and provide every detail a customer could want. Here are some strategies to accomplish that daunting goal.

Offer FAQs

Although many customers today want information, they want to be able to find it on their own. In fact, 40 percent of customers prefer self-service over human interaction if possible. Brands should always include a frequently asked questions page on their website to provide instant answers to common queries.

Give shipping and delivery updates

From the moment a purchase is made, customers want to know where their package is and when it will arrive, right down to the time of day. It is pertinent to provide tracking for any shipment, as well as text or email updates about the location of an order.

Share sales, offers and product emails

Customers want to feel like they are in on a secret. They want to know whenever new products are being offered, when a business is having a sale and when there are special offers on products or services they like. In today’s digital age, every business should have an email list and send updates regularly.

2. Personalized experiences and relationship management

Customer relationship management (CRM) technology is one of the most crucial components of a successful customer service strategy. Tech-industry CEO, Mark Hurd claims, “The way to overachieve…is to seize the very unique opportunity you have to differentiate customer relationships.”

Brands must recognize the role customer service plays in their business’s overall progress and build long-term, sustainable and personalized relationships with every single customer.

CRM software records customer data — from phone or email exchanges, contact information, purchase history, to demographics. Although that information can be attained manually, CRM programs automatically record it and use AI to organize and analyze that data.

Businesses can use this information to customize the consumer experience. From sending personalized alerts about new products and offers, to sending a birthday gift or card, each user will feel important. This relationship will create a feeling of loyalty and positive opinion of a brand.

3. Chatbots for customer queries

800 numbers and “help@” or “support@” email addresses are recent staples in the modern customer service industry. However, in the digital age, chatbots are making these once-modern technologies obsolete.

Consumers don’t have time to wait on hold for hours or receive a response email days later. They want instant gratification. Chatbots are an automated, online, text-based technology that allows customers to get answers to questions, concerns and complaints instantly.

They provide quick and accurate answers to common customer queries and can remarkably mimic human conversation — all without the need for a user to deal with an actual person. Not only do chatbots provide fast and easy answers to users, but they are also a cheaper alternative for the businesses employing them.

Customer service is the biggest and most influential piece of a brand’s success. In fact, 70 percent of a buying experience stems from the customer service experience. Brands that can adapt to the ever-changing landscape of customer service have the best chance at long-term success.